Recipe for The Best Chocolate Chip Cookie in NYC

 

LEVAIN BAKERY – CHOCOLATE CHIP WALNUT COOKIES

45 minPrep Time

15 minCook Time

1 hrTotal Time

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 1/4 cups all purpose flour plus 1 teaspoon for mixing with chocolate chips and walnuts
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into cubes
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup walnuts, toasted and roughly chopped

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a large bowl, combine 3 1/4 cups flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add butter, white and brown sugars. Mix until well combined and creamy.
  3. Add eggs and vanilla and mix until incorporated.
  4. With the mixer on low, gradually add dry ingredients and mix until just incorporated. Dough will be stiff.
  5. In a small bowl, combine chocolate chips and walnuts with 1 teaspoon flour, tossing to coat.
  6. Remove bowl from mixer and mix in chocolate chips and walnuts using a spatula. This will take a little time and muscle.
  7. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpat.
  8. Divide cookie dough into 10 portions about 4 ounces each. Keep cookies in rough mounds (as opposed to flattening them out or trying to smooth them) and refrigerate for 30 minutes before baking.*
  9. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375 degrees fahrenheit.
  10. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until cookies are light golden brown and just barely cooked in the middle.*

NOTES

 *Popping the cookie dough in the fridge before baking helps them keep their tall shape.
*Err on the side of under baking – these are best when they’re gooey in the center!
Thank you for the re-post http://citycookin.com/levain-bakery-chocolate-chip-walnut-cookies/

Whisked Blog Featured My Favorite Recipe

I’am beyond excited to have been featured in Whisked, an Australian food blog run by sisters Hannah + Jess. They featured my story and favorite recipe to, join in the fun and  click here to read all about it + get the recipe.

Whisked

Ginger + Turmeric Latte

TurmericLatte

Both ginger and turmeric have incredible anti-inflammatory properties, which means this soothing and delicious latte is also really good for you. I started drinking Turmeric tea with my Mom this winter and fell in love with how my body felt after drinking it.

SERVES 1
1 heaped teaspoon peeled and finely chopped fresh turmeric

1 teaspoon peeled and roughly chopped ginger

1 tablespoon coconut sugar

2 teaspoons coconut oil

pinch sea salt

1 cup almond milk

1. Combine turmeric, ginger, coconut sugar, coconut oil and a pinch of sea salt in a powerful blender.

2. Heat almond milk in a small saucepan over medium heat until just simmering.

3. Pour the hot almond milk into the blender and blitz everything until smooth and frothy.

Originally featured in Great Skin—Inside and Out

The Best Vegan Peanut Butter Fudge Bars

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This recipe was sent to me from Oryana Coop in Traverse City. This Coop happens to be one of my very favorite in America. The last time we were there in September we bought Vegan Peanut Butter Bar this and were blown away by how good it tasted. Seriously it is perfection! They have over 600 fabulous recipes on their website here: http://www.oryana.coop/recipes. Enjoy.

The Best Vegan Peanut Butter Fudge Bars

Makes 12

Bars:

1 1/3 pounds vegan butter (Spectrum Naturals Organic Vegetable Shortening)

1/2 cup cane sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon local peanut butter

1/4 cup dry roasted peanuts

1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

Fudge:

1/3 cup soy milk or almond

1/3 cup local peanut butter

1/2 cup chocolate chips

2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon agave syrup

Whisk together flour and baking soda in a small bowl– set aside. Cream butter and sugar in a

medium bowl. Add vanilla and peanut butter and beat until smooth– scraping sides of bowl.

Add peanuts and flour to butter mixture and mix until incorporated.

Form dough into 4 balls and flatten slightly. Place 2 X 2 in a 5” X 7” greased baking dish. Bake in

a 300 degree oven for 10 minutes. Rotate and bake another 10 minutes. Remove from oven

and cool completely.

For the fudge toping, heat all ingredients in a double boiler until chocolate chips are melted.

Whisk until smooth and creamy with a nice sheen. Spread fudge topping over cooled bars. Re-
frigerate until topping is set. Cut into 12 pieces.

Shine ON,

J

photo credits : http://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2013/07/02/no-bake-reeses-peanut-butter-bars/

Cashew-Less Vegan Queso

CASHEW-LESS VEGAN QUESO

Cashew- Free Vegan Queso Dip! Made with a secret ingredient to keep it creamy, velvety and totally cashew, soy, gluten and dairy free! #vegan

Good afternoon loves,

So the truth is when I am not singing, writing, or cooking I am always on the hunt to find the most delicious vegan foods that are quick to make and easy on the budget.

This year with The Distracted Beet I am going to be taking a different approach. Essentially, since I am full time on the road performing with The Bergamot and spreading The Unity Collective USA to all 50 states I figured it would be neat for me to share some of my favorite recipes and tips with you from my very favorite blogs!

I will also incorporate hip coffee shops and restaurants we hit up along the way on tour.

Plus, if I get a chance to access a kitchen while out on tour I will of course share my own recipes with you.

So we can think of this as a multi-faceted approach to blogging something old ( grabbed from one of my favorite blogs), something new (sharing a hip restaurant from out on the road), and something delicious just for you (from my own recipe collection).

Minimalist Baker : January 20th, 2016 

It always happens. Just as I’m about to drift off to sleep at night, a recipe idea zings into my brain out of nowhere. This time, for vegan queso.

Roasted Eggplants

EXCITING NEWS.

I’ve tried vegan cheese based with cashews. It’s good, and it’s the first way I learned to mock cheese texture and flavor without using dairy. But I knew there had to be a better way.

I mean, not that I’m into counting calories, but cashews are very high in calories and fat and you can detect them in sauces unless you really build up the flavor from spices and otherwise.

So, the thought was, “What else is creamy but neutral and would make a good base for cheese sauce?”

The zinger I got at midnight whilst falling asleep: EGGPLANT!

Roasted Eggplant

Eggplant is amazingly versatile, especially once roasted. I enjoy it in pastas, whirled into baba ganoush or even roasted and layered into a hearty veggie sandwich. I adore the creaminess of baba ganoush and suspected its eggplant base would make an excellent base for vegan queso.

DING DING DING. I was correct.

Vegan Queso Recipe!

This sauce starts with roasted eggplant. I speed up the process by slicing it into thin rounds and broiling. A little steam in foil and then you can pull away the skin with ease. Then, just throw it into a blender with almond milk, nutritional yeast and a handful of spices and you’re good to go.

Look at that creamy queso goodness.

Vegan Cashew-less Queso Dip! Healthier and creamier than nut cheese and SO delicious!

A little cornstarch in the mix helps it thicken up once heated in a saucepan for serving. This is an optional step but I recommend it for that ultimate luxurious cheesy texture. (If you don’t use cornstarch, try another thickener, such as arrowroot powder.)

Easy Vegan Queso - CASHEW FREE! #VEGAN #GLUTENFREE

All that’s left to do is add in a few Tbsp of slightly drained Rotel (just like real queso dip!) or your favorite chunky salsa. This really sends the texture and flavor over the top to mock the real thing.

Rotel Vegan Queso Dip!Easy Vegan Queso Dip! Cashew, soy and glutenfree! #vegan #glutenfree

Oh. My. Word.

You’re not gonna believe how delicious this is. And guess what? HUSBAND APPROVED!

John tried it, and he doesn’t like cashew sauces, and he really liked this dip! We agreed that it was ridiculous how close it was to real queso dip. Seriously amazing!

Cashew-Less Vegan Queso! Thick, creamy, velvety and almost undetectably close to real queso!

So what does it taste like?

Creamy
Velvety
Savory
Super cheesy
Slightly spicy
Perfectly dippable
Totally pourable
Begging to be added to all your favorite dishes

Don’t worry. I have a few recipes in the works utilizing this dreamy dip! And another bonus, itreheats extremely well! If you’ve ever made cashew cheese you know it doesn’t exactly reheat well. But with this, you can just pop it in the microwave or put it back in a saucepan and it’s just as good!

Creamy Vegan Queso Dip! Cashew, Soy and Gluten Free! #vegan #glutenfree #queso

Yet ANOTHER bonus? This dip is cashew-, soy-, dairy-, and gluten-free!

And did I mention it’s way lighter in fat and calories than nut- and dairy-based quesos? Just 55 calories and 3.5 grams of (healthy) fat per serving! What’s not to love? Make this dip! And if you do, take a picture and tag it #minimalistbaker on Instagram so I can see! Cheers!

 

Cashewless-Vegan-Queso-DipTHE BEST Vegan Queso Dip! CASHEW FREE! Cashew, soy, gluten, dairy free and SO creamy and delicious!

4.2 from 83 reviews
CASHEW-LESS VEGAN QUESO
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Author: Minimalist Baker
Recipe type: Appetizer, Sauce
Cuisine: Vegan, Gluten Free
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 7-9 rounds of eggplant, sliced 1/4-inch thick (~half of a medium eggplant)
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • 1.5-2 cups unsweetened original almond milk
  • 2-3 Tbsp nutritional yeast (see instructions)
  • 1/4 tsp finely minced fresh garlic (I used crushed garlic from Trader Joe’s)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp cornstarch (optional for thickening | sub another thickener if desired)
  • 1/4 cup chunky medium salsa, slightly drained (OR 1/4 10-ounce can of Rotel original diced tomatoes and green chilies)
  • OPTIONAL: Smoked paprika and hot sauce for added color and flavor upon serving.
Instructions
  1. Slice your eggplant into thin rounds just under 1/2 inch (not quite 1/4 inch), then sprinkle both sides of the flesh with a little sea salt and arrange in a colander to help draw out some of the moisture and bitterness. Let set for 10-15 minutes, then rinse with cool water and thoroughly pat dry between two clean towels.
  2. Preheat oven to high broil and place an oven rack near the top of the oven. Arrange the dried eggplant rounds on a baking sheet lightly spritzed with non-stick spray and drizzle both sides of the eggplant with a little olive oil. Sprinkle with a very small amount of salt.
  3. Broil on high for 4-5 minutes on each side, watching carefully as to not let them burn. Flip at the halfway point to ensure even cooking. Once the eggplant appears tender and both sides have golden brown color, remove from the oven and wrap loosely in foil to steam.
  4. After a few minutes, unwrap and peel the eggplant skin away. It should come right off. If you pack your roasted eggplant into a 1-cup measuring cup, it will be almost 1 cup.
  5. Place eggplant in a blender with the 1.5 cups (to start) almond milk, 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast, minced garlic, cumin, chili powder and cornstarch and blend on high until smooth and creamy. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. I added a pinch more sea salt and a little more nutritional yeast. To thin, add more almond milk.
  6. Transfer to a small saucepan and warm over medium to medium heat until slightly thickened and bubbly – about 5 minutes. The longer you go the thicker it will become.
  7. NOTE: If it isn’t looking as thick as you want, thicken with a slurry of cornstarch by adding an additional 1 tsp cornstarch to a small bowl with a little almond milk and 2-3 Tbsp of the cheese mixture. Whisk to combine and then stir back into the pot. This should thicken it right up.
  8. Once hot and thickened, remove from heat and stir in DRAINED salsa or Rotel. Don’t put the liquid in or it will make it runny. Pour into a serving dish and top with a little smoked paprika and hot sauce for flavor/color.
  9. Serve with chips, crackers or veggies. Keep warm in a mini crockpot or over a tea light warmer if you have one. Microwaves well.
  10. NOTE: When this dip sits out for a long time it loses its orange hue. It doesn’t affect the flavor but it doesn’t look as appetizing, so it’s really best when fresh!
  11. Refrigerate and cover leftovers. Reheats extremely well in the microwave or in a saucepan. Will keep for up to a few days, but best when fresh.
Notes
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate for 1 of 6 servings.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: ~1/4cup Calories: 55 Fat: 3.5g Saturated fat: 0g Carbohydrates: 4.7g Sugar: .7gSodium: 326mg Fiber: 2g Protein: 2.3g

Raleigh, North Carolina :: BREW Coffee + Yellow Dog Bread Co.

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Finally, after a couple months working hard from Brooklyn, New York we are back out on the road touring with our new project The Unity Collective USA.

In essence we (The Bergamot) are spending 2016 sharing our message of Peace + Unity with America and the world. My husband Nathaniel and I are thrilled to take our uplifting music, and mission to all 50 states.

For the next year we are dedicated to releasing our new album TONES ( 2.11.16), touring all 50 states, while creating a documentary of this journey. We hit the ground running and even brought on a full time documentarian named Leah Tribbett.

The Unity Collective USA is a peace movement we started this year.

We’re taking our 2002 Volvo V70 with 271K miles on it to all 50 states inviting our fans to join in this peace movement by coming out to our shows and signing “The Unity Car” with their message of Peace + Unity.

At the end of the tour we are going to auction the car off  as an art piece.

At the conclusion of the auction we will donate the proceeds to Memorial Children’s Hospital of South Bend, IN in order to help build a brand new children’s hospital in our hometown of South Bend IN.

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On January 2nd, 2016 we launched The Unity Collective USA Tour from NYC. The launch party was a massive success!

Tons of New Yorkers and people from all over the world joined us for an unforgettable event and first car signing ever. “The Unity Collective Car” got inked up in a BIG way with unique and thoughtful messages of Peace + Unity.

Now everyday on tour as we garner more signatures on the car we get to read all of these beautiful messages. And every day a huge smile forms on our faces as we further this movement.

A huge goal of ours is to perform for and have Ellen and Jimmy Fallon to sign the “Unity Car” with there message of unity. Hey a duo can dream, right???

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Now, we have just crossed over the Florida state line. Its ten at night we are getting tired. Needless to say, we are grateful that we spent the afternoon in Raleigh attending business meetings and connecting with some of the worlds greatest movers + shakers.

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But first, coffee at BREW COFFEE.

As we stepped out of the car I am pretty sure I hopped with a little extra joy in my step because we were about to open the door to BREW COFFEE.

A recap on the coffee:

The pour-over coffee was exceptional. We laughed, as we sipped a Kenyan pour-over which was bright, citrusy, and sweet.

Plus the workers there were so joyful, sweet, and shared great vibes with us and the other customers. We look forward to stopping at BREW COFFEE again soon, defiantly check out this coffee bar next time your in Raleigh.

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Next up, was a stop at YELLOW DOG BREAD Co.

OK, I have to admit this just fed our never ending adventure to find the best sourdough bread in the Nation.

We have a few loafs on our list thus far, one exists in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. This is our hood and one of our very favorite sourdough loaves comes from Bakeri.

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Needless to say, upon opening the door to YELLOW DOG BREAD Co. a wall of sweet and savory freshly baking bread hit me, instantly overtaking all of my senses.

This was a very good sign of what was to come.

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Like a small child walking into a candy shop I eagerly ran up to the counter to look at all of the sweet/savory delights.

I was there only to get the sourdough and left with a loaf of sourdough and a peanut butter cookie which was pretty good considering I wanted to buy the whole store.

I really could have bought a dozen chocolate scones to but since we are sitting all day traveling to our next stop I had to restrain.

However… with that said after I broke bread tasted my first bite I am pretty sure I said in my head I will be back. It was soooo good. Next time around we will make a stop here and then headed over to to try Boulted Bread.

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The low down on the treats:

The peanut butter cookie was  lightly sweet and well balanced with a salted peanut flavor. It did not stand a chance, my husband and I devoured it before we got back to the car.

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The sourdough loaf had a robust savory yeast flavor, hard shell, crackled mildly ashy bottom with a satisfyingly dense chewy moist and pliable center.

Pretty much all you can ask for in a sourdough loaf, hats off y’all.

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I wanted to note that all of the gorgeously delicious photos were taken by Leah Tribbett our amazingly talented documentarian. We are thrilled to have her out on the road joining us on this journey. I hope you all get a chance to stop at these two places next time you hit the road and in the mean time…

I must bid you fair well for we are back to the road.

Shine ON.

Jillian

4 Minute Acai Energy Bowl (Vegan + Glutenfree)

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Four weeks ago I found myself touring through a town called Norfolk Virginia…

My husband Nathaniel, myself, and our dear friend Ian (who btw is a very talented musician check him out and show him some love) ate lunch at this revolutionary vegan spot in Virginia Beach called Fruitive. Low and behold we ordered a Acai Berry Bowl and a new love was born.

The acai berry is one of the healthiest berries you will ever find holding ten times the amount of antioxidants as grapes, and two times the amount of blueberries. 

This antioxidant-rich fruit has been heralded for centuries as a healing, immune-stimulating, energy-boosting fruit.

Research has shown that this antioxidant-rich berry supports in the prevention of diseases. It has antioxidants that lower cholesterol levels, boosts energy, it aids in weight loss, keeps digestive system clean and in optimal function, boosts sex drive, and reverse typical processes of aging related to oxidative damage. (paper source)

After this great experience in Virginia, I had to learn how to make a killer good acai bowl myself.

First and foremost acai bowls are a traditional Brazilian breakfast that’s brimming with nutrients and vitamins, it will give you sustained energy and you will feel great until your next meal. You can enjoy this acai bowl as a breakfast, lunch, or for a pick me up snack.

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4 Minute Acai Energy Bowl

Ingredients:

  • 2 Packets of SAMBAZON Frozen Organic Acai Berry Packets (unsweetened) I buy mine at our local Whole Foods
  • 1 Banana fresh or frozen (I used fresh in this bowl)
  • ½ cup Almond Milk, unsweetened or try my homemade Almond Milk recipe

Toppings:

  • 1/4 cup Maple Granola
  • 1 TB Hemp seed
  • 2 TB Walnuts
  • 4 Strawberries cut up
  • 1/2 Banana cut up into slices

Directions: Simply add all main ingredients into your high-speed blender until thick and creamy. (1 min to blend)

Once your Acai base is ready pour it into a bowl and then begin to add the fun toppings, including Maple Granola, Hemp Seed, Walnuts, Strawberries, Banana.

Note: Other fun toppings you could add are Almond nut butter, additional berries, and other frozen or fresh seasonal fruit.

Your berry bowl will come out creamy and rich, and you can always add more frozen ice cubes or frozen bananas to obtain your desired thickness. Enjoy!

Shine ON,

Jillian

25 Daily Rituals Of History’s Most Successful

 

25 Daily Rituals Of History’s Most Successful

…And What You Can Learn From Them

BY STEVE RUSHING

Beginning 2016, I resolved to do one thing. Stop believing in lifehacks. The things the Internet tells us will make us better, more efficient humans. From the “I Thought I Finally Knew All The ‘Life Hacks’ Out There. But These 23 Proved Me Wrong…” to the “37 Essential Life Hacks Every Human Should Know.”

Instead, I’ve thought better of it. Turning to history’s most successful people for example. Because if they’ve succeeded through trial and error, who am I to ignore their teaching? So I resolved to learn what I could. Whether by studying their works, speeches, or styles. Yet what I often missed was how they lived. The day to day routines that made up far more of their lives than we witness outside their work.

It’s these routines I wanted to learn about, and emulate. The true “lifehacks.” Because that’s how the sausage is made. The formula for success, as evidenced by history. The daily writing session, the refreshing bath in the Potomac River, or even the solitude in the mountains.

I wanted to learn to make myself better by their example. And to share it with my readers. So I turned to Mason Currey’s Daily Rituals: How Artists Work, and never looked back.

Here’s what I learned.

1. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Life doesn’t bend to your schedule. Find the time.

When Mozart couldn’t find a wealthy patron, or a post with European nobility, he had to hustle to make a living. He gave a frantic number of piano lessons. Attended and produced almost daily concert performances. Mozart even visited wealthy patrons throughout Vienna to win their favor. Add the courtship of his future wife, Constantine, and he had every right to relax… when he could.

But to achieve his dreams, he didn’t allow the demands of life to get in the way. Arriving home around eleven each night, Mozart composed before allowing himself to sleep. That meant crashing in bed at 1am, only to rise again at 6am.

2. Voltaire

Find the place where you work best. Make it your “cell”.

For the French Enlightenment writer and philosopher, that meant working in bed. From there, Voltaire would read and dictate new work every morning and evening. Not due to laziness, but because of the solitude and frame of mind it put him in. Allowing him to concentrate on his work without interruption. Later during the day, Voltaire would dress and be social. Often roaming the grounds on horseback, and having meals with family.

But every evening he’d seal himself back into his cell. Spending eighteen to twenty concentrated hours a day working in the place that worked best for him.

3. Benjamin Franklin

Don’t be afraid to deviate from your schedule.

The father of electricity enjoyed giving advice to others throughout his life. Whether he followed it himself though, few can say. In his older years though, he drafted a thirteen week plan to achieve “moral perfection.”

With every week devoted to a different virtue, from cleanliness to moderation. He had hoped to create a habit from each. But after following course several times in a row, he realized its diminishing returns.

Instead, and more important, Franklin set aside his ego. Having the strength of character to change his well laid plans and devise a new schedule. His new ideal schedule drew upon his experiences with the rigid adherence to virtue. Dropping the minute by minute scheduling, and allowing creativity to arise. Till his dying days, he would continue to tinker with his ideal schedule. But he’d always allow for creativity to inspire going forward.

4. Jane Austen

Distractions are no excuse. Learn to cope.

Never married, Austen lived in bustling houses all her life. Yet, she never let the near constant distractions deter her. Rising before anyone else, Jane organized the family breakfast everyday. It would be her sole, but necessary, contribution to the household. One that she designed herself to feign acquiescence from her sister, and buy precious time to write. Finishing in a flash, she would then have time to think and write in the sitting room. It would be the only time she could write away from prying eyes, though distractions were common.

In fact, Austen would resort to scribbling on small bits of paper when others weren’t looking. Given her intense fear of reproach, she did not want others to know that she authored stories. This would continue until visitors turned up, or dinner was served at 3pm. The rest of her evening would be lost reading aloud from novels, with Jane waiting till the next day to continue her work.

5. Thomas Mann

Set a time for concentrated work.

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Thomas Mann knew that his most productive hours of the day were from 9am to noon. So he designed his day according. After waking at 8am, Mann bathed, dressed, and had a cup of coffee with his wife. Free of distraction or decision making, he primed his mind for a day’s work. Mann would then shut himself away for those three hours, strictly forbidding distraction. Working feverishly, he placed tremendous pressure to get things on paper during those hours. Anything after noon would have to wait till the next day. His work day complete though, he felt free to let his mind and time wander the rest of the day.

6. Karl Marx

Have a goal — die trying.

A political exile in London, Karl Marx dedicated his life to the revolutionary struggle. Aiming to write three volumes of his masterpiece, Das Kapital, he would only complete one. Yet his drive to complete even the sole work proved exemplary. Working at a fever pitch in the British Museum reading room from nine to seven daily. Suffering through frequent attacks due to liver disease, boils, and eye inflammation. Even sacrificing his entire fortune and life to the completion of his work. The man wanted to complete something that would change the world. Even if that meant spending two decades of suffering to do it.

7. Ernest Hemingway

Keep track of your output — kidding yourself is for amateurs

A man prone to passion, Hemingway had a surprising rigidity to his work life. Waking everyday at first light despite the previous night’s drinking. He spent the quiet hours before others awoke to drafting his stories in longhand. Preferring to later move to the typewriter only when the work went well. After draining himself of thought, he’d review his word count for the day.

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He suffered no illusion of his output, demanding precise numbers of his work. Once satisfied, he’d be free from “the awful responsibility of writing” and knock off for the day. His mind ready for a chance to recoup from many hours work.

8. F. Scott Fitzgerald

Time constraints sharpen the mind.

A tale of two personalities, Fitzgerald’s work regime waned from exemplary to cautionary. As a 21-year-old Princeton dropout, he drafted the 120,000 word debut novel This Side of Paradise in three months. Years later he’d blow past deadlines and promises. Why the difference? Just before writing his first book, he enlisted in the Army. As a private with little time, he first started scribbling notes on a pad of paper hidden in an army textbook. Later, after being discovered, he switched to writing on Saturdays and Sundays. Writing from 1pm to midnight on Saturdays and 6am to 6pm on Sundays.

Without the rigid constraints, he spent the rest of his life aimless. Turning to the bottle for inspiration, and procrastinating to create artificial pressure.

9. William Faulkner

There is no ideal enviroment to work in.

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Faulkner wrote late at night as a night shift manager for a university power plant. Other times, he wrote in the mornings before noon, renovating the dilapidated family estate the rest of the day. Sometimes he even scribbled in the town library, taking the doorknob home with home to “lock” the door. The rest of his days he worked and relaxed with a glass of whiskey on the porch. He had no use for discriminating where he wrote, or when. Life proved far too chaotic to be picky.

10. Charles Darwin

Guard your first draft with your life.

Running away from London to the English countryside, Darwin had good reason to be afraid. His radical theory on evolution would shake the arrogant Victorian society to its core. Not to mention risk personal and social disgrace. To fortify his standing, and make his work irrefutable, he decided upon an interesting course. Biding his time over seventeen years and bolstering his credentials in the scientific community. Making himself a known expert on barnacles, and earning a Royal Medal for his work. Telling only a sacred few about his theory. The result was a man of impeccable scientific standing who worked for countless hours everyday on secondary goals. Achieving status no one could easily refute. And then unleashing his work onto the world.

11. James Joyce

Finish.

An avid drinker, procrastinator, and partier, history should have forgotten Joyce. Terrible with money, debt collectors would line up at his door daily.

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To make ends meet, he worked sparingly. Giving random piano and English lessons during the day. But come each night heading for the bars, his family never knowing when he’d come home… or if they’d money for food the next day. For all his vices though, he knew his masterpiece Ulysses was worth it.

Using the nightly bouts with friends to clear his mind for the next day’s writing. And plodding away at the novel he’d forever be remembered for. In the end, he estimated he’d spent 20,000 hours writing the book after seven years of work.

12. Pablo Picasso

Stay in the zone, whatever it takes.

Shutting himself in his studio at 2pm after a late start, Picasso often worked till at least dusk. With friends and family left to their own devices until dinner. Even then, emerging from his studio, he’d rarely speak. Often never uttering a single word, except when company turned up. He would come off as anti-social and gregarious. Throughout his life, his long term girlfriend, Fernande would blame his foul mood on a bad diet.

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In reality though, Picasso never wanted to break his concentration. If not forced to leave his canvas to be social, he could stand and work for three or four hours without fatigue. Once in his zone, he’d fight like hell to stay in it, no matter his family obligations.

13. Agatha Christie

Don’t work places just to be seen.

Christie, like Austen, had a terrible time recognizing her own accomplishments. Not even considering herself a “bona fide author” after writing ten books. Instead, she considered herself at best a “married woman.” Albeit one prone to occasional bursts of writing that produced bestselling books. It was this fear of reproach from others that made her embarrassed to be seen writing. And made her friends claim “I never known when you write your books, because I’ve never seen you writing, or even seen you go away to write.”

Instead, Christie enjoyed getting away from others. Freeing her from interruptions, and her mind from (false) ridicule. Whatever it took to find a way to speed full ahead, Christie did.

14. Louis Armstrong

Bleed the hours of your life, if your work is worth it.

Louis knew from an early age that his work required sacrifice. Feeling as though he spent 20,000 years on planes and railroads, he always traveled. From set to set, he never tried to prove anything.

Music was life, “but the music ain’t worth nothing if you can’t lay it on the public.”

So he sacrificed his life to bring his art to the world. Even running through a daily routine of Maalox, chronic lip problems, pot, herbal laxatives. The art came first. He just needed to bleed to share it with others.

15. Maya Angelou

Embrace the loneliness.

Never one to work at home, Maya spent her working hours by herself. Always in a hotel or motel room near home, completely anonymous. Her day started at 5:30am, only leaving for “work” after a cup of coffee with her husband at 6:00am.

Her hotel room would be the model of spartan. “A tiny, mean room with just a bed, and sometimes, if i can find it, a face basin.” She’d also allow herself the company of a dictionary, a Bible, a deck of cards, and a bottle of sherry. Alone, Maya worked from 7 to 2, deep in silence and thought. When the time came to leave, she put the work out of her mind. Leaving to fill the lonely void she’d created that day.

16. Charles Dickens

Walking restores your soul.

A robot in the Victorian Age, Dickens’s schedule remained unchanged. Rising at 7am, breakfast by 8, he’d be in his study by 9:00. Working with haste until a brief lunch with his family where he’d be lost in thought. Then he’d continue till 2pm where he’d finally leave his desk for a three hour walk to refresh his mind. During these walks, he’d search “for some pictures I wanted to build upon.” Always returning home bursting with energy that oozed from every pore. Giving him something exciting to look forward to creating in his work the following day.

17. Victor Hugo

Inspiration is everywhere — carry a notebook

Exiled off the coast of France, Hugo spent his days working as much as possible. Which due to his station in life, was not much. Waking every morning at the sound of gunshot from the nearby fort, Hugo would write till 11am. Then, the pressures of society and life forced him to retreat. Lunches with visitors (a daily occurrence) forced his social bone to stretch. Two hour walks on the beach with strenuous exercise cleared his mind. A daily visit to his barber made him feel fresh. He even went on a carriage ride with his mistress every afternoon. Attending to his family and wife in the evenings.

Because of his other “occupations” he carried small notebooks everywhere he went. Stealing away moments and the slightest ideas he mentioned. As his son later said, “Nothing is lost. Everything ends up in print.”

18. Herman Melville

Find your zen.

In the throws of writing Moby Dick, Melville worked eight hours a day on his story. With the shackles of monotony around him though, he knew he’d need a mindless task to relieve the stress. Moving to the Berkshires region of Massachusetts, he found the perfect solution: farming. Rising every morning to tend to his livestock, he’d soon move over to the desk, feeling alive. After a full day’s work, he’d turn his brain off and return to the animals and his fields. Shedding the story from his mind and finding peace. So hard was his work in fact, that even after returning home at night, skimming any book hurt. Only the perfect zen he found in farming could occupy his mind.

19. Leo Tolstoy

Never miss a day.

“I must write each day without fail, not so much for the success of the work, as in order not to get out of my routine.”

More prophetic than he knew, Tolstoy’s writing as a muscle theory is a veritable fact today. Without it, he may never have finished War and Peace. Or like many who’ve read it, lost a grip on its myriad of characters. Like his habit of writing though, his daily routine stayed constant. Waking around 9am, breakfasting with his family, and shutting himself away till dinner. Combined with his writing routine, he found strength in the monotony. Freeing his mind from decision making in every arena, except the one that mattered most to him. His work.

20. Mark Twain

Find what works for you, and exploit it.

Retiring to a farm in upstate New York every summer, Twain had a simple routine. Eat a hearty breakfast every morning, and then lock himself in a private room built for his purposes. Here he would stay till dinner at 5, a prisoner of his mind. No lunch, no distractions, no excuses. The only permissible interruption coming from the blow of a horn under grave circumstances.

After finishing, his mind unburdened, he’d eat dinner with the family. Later retiring to the study to read aloud his writing from the day to win his family’s approval. In this routine Twain produced a tremendous volume of his most famous works.

21. Vincent van Gogh

Time melts when you find your purpose.

For all his trappings, van Gogh knew his life belonged to his work. Learning to paint, he could spend countless hours throwing himself at it. From sun up, to well into the evening, he worked without the slightest fatigue. His passion and work ethic had nothing to do with grit and determination though. Instead he found the hours dribbled away without a moment’s thought. Often forgetting to eat, except what he could reach within an arm’s length of his canvas. What van Gogh realized was that he’d discovered a zone of being that few artists ever do. And like those lucky enough to find it, decided exploited it with a drug-like addiction.

22. Alexander Graham Bell

When you hit upon a moment of clarity, don’t let it go

In his youth, Bell worked around the clock. Bursting with ideas that often kept him at work for twenty two hours straight. Even getting only three or four hours of sleep at most. His mind would not allow him to leave while in the throes of a new idea. Later, his pregnant wife compelled him to save three hours after dinner to be together. But when his inventions got the best of him, let him go on occasion. Knowing his work stole his heart from her.

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As Bell later confessed to his wife, he had “periods of restlessness when my brain is crowded with ideas tingling to my fingertips [and] I am excited and cannot stop for anybody.”

23. Ayn Rand

Don’t cheat. It’ll get you in the end.

Some sacrifices in life bear fruit. Others, as Ayn came to learn, don’t. Under pressure to finish The Fountainhead, Rand faced a fundamental problem. A chronic sufferer of fatigue, the deadline proved impossible. Turning to a doctor for help, he proscribed Benzedrine. A drug designed to increase her energy levels.

It worked. Working day and night, without sleeping for days, Rand produced a chapter a week. Finishing a book in less than twelve months that took years to write and plan just the first third. After, Rand would continue to use Benzedrine and amphetamines for the next three decades. The drug that produced her work, became a crutch for the rest of her life. Leading to mood swings, paranoia, and emotional outbursts. She’d never be the same.

24. L. Frank Baum

Outside interests create idea sex.

For Baum, writing served as second fiddle to his true passion — gardening. Moving to Hollywood from Chicago with his wife, his new home included a large backyard. Learning about gardening, Baum became obsessed. Waking each morning with the thought of his prize-winning flowers on his mind. His books a distant second.

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After an 8am wake up call, and five cups of coffee, he’d devote his entire morning and early afternoon. Only after lunch at 1pm, did he sit down in his garden and begin writing in longhand.

But here, surrounded by his flowers, he drew inspiration. Writing for a short, but intense period with cigar in hand. Though his time spent in the garden chair writing was not long, he produced much. Including an eventual 13 Oz sequels, and dozens of other stories.

25. Stephen King

Habit is the bed of creativity. Tuck yourself in.

Artists (and writers) live and die by ritual. The daily act of sitting down and bleeding on paper. And no greater modern day proponent exists outside Stephen King.

Author of a shocking number of books, King writes every day of the year. No matter his birthday or a holiday. Under no circumstances will he leave his desk without two thousand words being written. To do this, he begins his work at 8 or 8:30 every morning. On a good day, his work ends at 11:30. Most days, he’s finished by 1:30. His afternoons and evenings open, he lounges around. Watching Red Sox games, answering letters, and going for walks. But does so with a free heart, never worrying whether he’s wasting his time.

This article came from medium.com

Your home is your Sanctuary, does it spark Joy?

photo credit :: www.dwell.com
photo credit :: www.dwell.com

“Does it spark joy?” If it does, keep it. If not, discard it. “When you put your house in order, you put your affairs and your past in order, too. As a result, you can see quite clearly what you need in life and what you don’t.”

That simple system is the building block of Marie Kondo’s runaway best-selling book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. The book has now reportedly sold 3 million copies worldwide, is being turned into a new half-hour comedy on NBC, and has inspired the world to rethink our homes and lives on a spiritual level in America. Not bad for a 31-year-old woman who lives in Japan and doesn’t speak a word of English! And she’s got a new book, Spark Joy, hitting stores January 5, so we expect to see more of the KonMari method sweeping the world in 2016!

What’s the secret to her success? The Wall Street Journal reports that Kondo has “captured the imaginations of readers around the world at a moment when many people seem to have reached a tipping point of clutter in their lives. It coincides with the recovering economy, an increase in donations of clothing and household goods to charity, and a trend toward downsizing as U.S. population growth shifts from the suburbs to city centers in many areas.”

The KonMari method is just one way in which people are investing in their home space and turning it into a sanctuary. Services like Homepolish, which connects people with interior decorators for consultations or project work, are booming.

Noa Santos, Homepolish co-founder and CEO, believes there is a connection. “Decluttering is a refocusing — find the few things that matter most to you and make them a larger part of your life. In a world where an excess of choice has become paralyzing, curation has become key — I think that’s why what Marie Kondo encourages has become so popular.”

What’s interesting is that it’s not the traditional homeowner who is making the investment in their personal space, as a large percentage of Homepolish customers are renters. Santos adds, “Renters make up a huge part of our client base because they’re on the go and busy but they still want a home or office they love. Renters believe they deserve that and they do.”

article first seen in http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-23140/10-wellness-trends-to-watch-in-2016.html

Meditation Reduces ADD Symptoms

Over the last year my guides have lead me to meditation as a holistic way I could continue growing on my journey with ADD. It may seem crazy for a person who is easily distracted to even attempt meditating. I have tried at various times in my life and have failed.

Yet this time around I want it deeply, checking my excuses as to why I can’t meditate at the door. This time around I am devoted to the process.

kinfolk laughter

Needless to say yesterday I watched Dr. Sara Gottfried speak on the power of meditation on Wanderlust’s site (which btw I recommend you watch here).

There was a moment around 18 minutes into her speech that she said ADD symptoms could be greatly reduced  by meditation. The ideal that meditation can help reduce ADD symptoms was the greatest selling point for me as I write you today.

Your invited you to watch the video below from Mind Body Green and consider meditation as a way to garner more peace, clarity, and focus in your life.

Shine ON,

Jillian